1. Why is the first picture called "X"? And why do you think Hollis has kept it in spite of the X? Discuss Hollis’s idea of home.
Her teacher drew an X over Hollis' W picture implying it was wrong. Hollis' picture of a family was a very concrete W picture as it was her Wish. The story made me irritated with the teacher for not bothering to listen to Hollis, but just immediately assume that her drawing was wrong. It also made me realize the strength of Hollis since she did not let an uncaring adult rain on her parade.
2. We've heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words," so think up a picture of your family when you were a child. What would your "picture" show? Why is that particular moment in your family so special?
There is an actual black and white photo that comes to my mind although I was no longer a child. A friend of my 15-year-old brother's took a picture of us five remaining "kids" who were still living at home (my 20 year old brother was married and had a child of his own) the day after my father died. I was 20, one brother was 15, another 9, and the youngest was 3, and my only sister was 5. The photo stands out in my mind as that was such a major change in our family. My mother didn't work outside the home (she did babysit and take in ironings, but the pay was lousy) and not only was dealing with the death of my father difficult, but learning to cope financially was a struggle. I did all I could to help financially as well as with the younger siblings.
3. Except for the first chapter, all the others are said to be "The Time with Josie." What happens in chapter one? What name would you give this chapter?
Chapter one is when Hollis meets Josie so could be called "Meeting Josie".
4. Beatrice had been an art teacher for 40 years, but had never seen anyone who could do what Hollis could do (p. 43). The Old Man had said, "Where'd you ever learn to do that?" (pp. 44, 47), and Izzie had said, "You have a gift, pure and simple" (p. 44). What are some of the many many art career options for Hollis?
It was thanks to her stay with Josie that Hollis as well as the encouragement from the Old Man that Hollis began to have options in life including art careers. She could use her talent for becoming an artist (sometimes difficult to establish oneself enough to be self-sufficient), art teacher, interior designer, as well as many other options.
5. I'm testing your memory with this question. What was Hollis's favorite color in the leather box of colored pencils the Old Man gave her? What do you imagine Hollis would draw with that color?
Hollis' favorite color was French Blue. Hollis could draw the sky or her beloved Delaware River.
6. Josie told Hollis, "There are saltwater people, and freshwater people" (p. 23). Which was Hollis? Which are you? Tell us why.
Hollis lived the Delaware River so was a freshwater person. Although I have had limited exposure to the ocean, I love its beauty so I am a saltwater person. Even though Hollis seems to love the freedom of being independent (ocean), she yearns so for the enclosed love for a family so I guess this would fit in with the analogy of being a freshwater person (river). I grew up near the Kansas River and except during certain periods during the year I think of it as ugly and dirty. However, in the analogy I also love the enclosed (inland) concept of a close knit family and have seldom acted upon the freedom expressed by the ocean.